Isn’t that one of the signs your pet is getting a little mental? It’s true for humans, too. I can’t really talk about the actual things that are burning me down from the inside, so I’ll talk about all the little irritations that are safer to discuss.
Wedding: it’s wedding season, and I don’t know if I can spend more than five minutes pretending to be normal around people who are ten years younger than I am, make twice as much, have supportive families, never made a bad decision, and you get the picture. Skinny, gorgeous, mentally healthy to the point of absurdity, and exactly the balance of dominant culture heteronormativity / earnest liberal naif that drives me insane. I love the little darlings, I do, but if I spend more than five minutes in their presence I want to excuse myself so I can find the nearest titty bar, do dollar shots, and get a raunchy tattoo. It’s not enough to summon the mothership and return to my home planet. I need to go to a place where no one is talking about whether to buy a second home in Hawaii or Belize.
Family: demanding my presence. Not because they like me, but so they can punish me for staying away so long. On the phone: please please come stay. In the background: shitty comments ranging from “she’s not coming, oh NO, she has WAY more important things to do” to who-the-fuck-cares. I miss my family. I’d rather miss them than fight with them.
Work: most of what I can’t talk about, because my new boss is a stalker. New Boss reminds me of a guy I used to know, boyfriend of a friend, and he was definitely evil. Not a bad guy — just evil. Raised rich, youngest boy in a family of girls, definitely a “free love” guy so long as someone else was providing it, and son of a lawyer. Used to pull body language cues guaranteed to “turn chicks on” (straight from the manuals advertised in the back of 70s mags) and lived his life according to Machiavelli’s “The Prince”. What a piece of work. And now I have a boss who overshares useless things, hoping to glean blackmail nuggets from employees; someone who puts patients last; someone who has ambition rather than a calling. It’s all of yuck.
Interwebs: NEWS FLASH! Click bait is annoying me too much. Breaking Story: IQs drop during election years. Also, people still don’t know the difference between “inferred” and “implied”; film at eleven.
Weight: new high weight = new low in self-esteem. Apologies to all my friends who are struggling with weight; my struggle isn’t with my weight, but with what is making me fat — namely, my need to eat my feelings. Cooking is fun, as is shopping for ingredients, as is eating, as is overeating. It slows me down — a good thing when I am anxious. It provides a pleasant external focus for my attention, a sensory pleasure, a diversion from my racing thoughts and crushing ennui. Even the best gruyere is cheaper than valium, and does not lead to early dementia.
Weight loss: I do best with a low-carb way of living, since my ancestors lived on little oily fishes and big fat sheep. My friends who came down from the highlands do best on oats. Some folks can do dairy, some can’t, and some are addicted to it. It doesn’t matter; it’s all good. When we talk about weight loss, I look up stories. The deck is stacked against me. I’m short. I’m pushing 50. I have poor exercise habits. I am so sedentary it hurts. When I look at weight loss success stories, the “after” photos still show a person who is obese, and I am not inspired. The main thing is: it doesn’t matter what you eat. If you eat too much, you’ll gain weight. If you eat too little, you’ll lose weight. I hate feeling hungry, and it’s hard for me to cut out my drug of choice (cheese), and cutting calories is a reliable (possibly the only rock-solid reliable) way to lose weight.
I feel for my friends who follow guidelines full of Shoulds and Supposed-To’s. We’re supposed to eat breakfast every day. We’re supposed to have 12 servings of whole grain per day. We need to limit protein to four ounces of the world’s driest, most flavorless chicken breast. We need to consume six servings of dairy to prevent bone loss and eight servings of fruit to get vitamin C. And we’re supposed to do 20 minutes of cardio or 10,000 steps daily. On and on.
Guess what? When you complain that you’re still fat, it’s because you are eating like a 20 year old white male, which was who all that was designed for. The exercise you do has almost no effect on weight loss — it makes you stronger and improves your metabolism, but the 200 calories you burned on the treadmill were exceeded by one of the many pieces of fruit you inhaled. If you want to lose weight for real, calorie restriction is part of the program.
Here I go, talking to myself again. And I’m still not to the meat of the matter….